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B.C. announces new funds to offset costs of running wheelchair-accessible taxis

Province hopes change increases availability of rides to people with mobility challenges
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A wheelchair accessible taxicab in Castlegar, B.C. (Black Press Media file photo)

B.C. says it’s now redirecting some revenue to make running wheelchair-accessible taxis more affordable for drivers and, hopefully, increase their availability for people with mobility challenges.

Applications are open as of Jan. 27 on an initial $3 million, which will provide rebates to taxi owners and operators for the cost of maintaining accessible cabs. An unspecified amount of further funds will become available over the next two years to then reduce the cost of purchasing and operating such taxis and to provide drivers with training on how best to support passengers.

All of this is coming from money made off B.C.’s per-trip fee, which came into effect in September 2019 and charges all ride-hailing services – including ones like Uber and Lyft – 30 cents for each trip made in a non-wheelchair accessible vehicle.

The long-term goal is to reduce the often long wait times people with mobility challenges face when trying to run an errand, get to work or visit a friend in B.C.

The change comes three years after the province launched official talks with the taxi industry about it.

READ ALSO: B.C. launches talks with taxi industry about fees to aid disability services

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